Missing details on Afghanistan: Natural Gas

Gary Lawrence Murphy garym@canada.com
13 Oct 2001 14:29:45 -0400

Something I haven't seen appear on this list before but which may
or may not be significant:


  "Afghanistan's significance from an energy standpoint stems from its
  geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and
  natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea.  This
  potential includes the possible construction of oil and natural gas
  export pipelines through Afghanistan, which was under serious
  consideration in the mid-1990s.  The idea has since been undermined
  by Afghanistan's instability.


  "The Soviets had estimated Afghanistan's proven and probable natural
  gas reserves at up to 5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in the 1970s.
  Afghan natural gas production reached 275 million cubic feet per day
  (Mmcf/d) in the mid-1970s. However, due to declining reserves from
  producing fields, output gradually fell to about 220 Mmcf/d by
  1980. At that time, the Jorquduq field was brought online and was
  expected to boost Afghan natural gas output to 385 Mmcf/d by the
  early 1980s. However, sabotage of infrastructure by the anti-Soviet
  mujaheddin fighters limited the country's total production to 290
  Mmcf/d, an output level that was held fairly steady until the Soviet
  withdrawal in 1989. After the Soviet pullout and subsequent Afghan
  civil war, roughly 31 producing wells at Sheberghan area fields were
  shut in pending the restart of natural gas sales to the former
  Soviet Union.

  "At its peak in the late 1970s, Afghanistan supplied 70%-90% of its
  natural gas output to the Soviet Union's natural gas grid via a link
  through Uzbekistan. In 1992, Afghan President Najibullah indicated
  that a new natural gas sales agreement with Russia was in
  progress. However, several former Soviet republics raised price and
  distribution issues and negotiations stalled. In the early 1990s,
  Afghanistan also discussed possible natural gas supply arrangements
  with Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and several Western European
  countries, but these talks never progressed further.  Afghan natural
  gas fields include Jorqaduq, Khowaja Gogerdak, and Yatimtaq, all of
  which are located within 20 miles of the northern town of Sheberghan
  in Jowzjan province.  Natural gas production and distribution is the
  responsibility of the Taliban-controlled Afghan Gas Enterprise.  In
  1999, work resumed on the repair of a distribution pipeline to
  Mazar-i-Sharif.  Spur pipelines to a small power plant and
  fertilizer plant also were repaired and completed.  Mazar-i-Sharif
  is now receiving natural gas from the pipeline, as well as some
  other surrounding areas.  Rehabilitation of damaged natural gas
  wells has been undertaken at the Khowaja Gogerak field, which has
  increased natural gas production."